…whatever your take on the tale, this is a thoughtful, intelligent production of an exquisitely wrought eulogy to past times, vanished youth and bittersweet nostalgia, beautifully carried along by a multi-tasking ensemble cast… and definitely worth revisiting.
Writing in the Bath Chronicle, Nancy Connolly thought the adaptation “very stark,” requiring the audience to imagine the story’s splendor, but deemed the production “courageous [to] lay bare an English country classic.” She
wonders if, when trying to reduce this epic to a stark two-hour production, the story has been lost somewhat in the process, although the staging even without the house and trappings is incredibly clever and modern.
The unidentified reviewer in the Swindon Advertiser is struck unfavorably by the bare staging:
What results is something very modern, which is – unfortunately – strongly at odds with the source material, which goes to great lengths to evoke a certain time and place. This is Brideshead by Warhol, an odd mish-mash to say the least.
The cast “do their best to flourish” but except for Brian Ferguson as Charles
we learn little of the deep emotions and motivations that guide them to their decisions. By trying to fit too many details and events into the short running time the production as a whole suffers.
The play is “ultimately hamstrung both by the odd staging and the stilted structure, over-promising and under-delivering.”
NOTE (7 May 2016): On Friday, 6 May 2016 another review of the Bath performance of the Brideshead adaptation was posted by Rebecca Lipkin on a website called The Arbuturian. This concludes more positively than some of the others:
This production might not have romantic backdrops of landscaped gardens or a soundtrack you can hum along to, but it’s all the more thought-provoking because of it. There is a depth and sensitivity pouring out of each cast member; all apparently united in their desire to tell the story of how one man’s life can be so affected by a desire to be a part of a class and family to which he was never destined to belong.